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First-Day Welcome Letter From the Chancellor

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Rebecca Chopp

Letter  •

Dear members of the DU community,

On this, my first day as your chancellor, I am pleased and proud to join a great research University that holds in the highest regard academic quality, value for students and service to the public good. I am also delighted to live within a diverse community and to reside in Colorado. It is a dream come true to be able to combine my passions for Denver and the Rocky Mountain area with my dedication to shaping scholarship and teaching for the 21st century.

I've admired the University of Denver for many years. Now that I am getting to know the University in a more detailed way, I am impressed with its spirit of boldness and innovation, the incredible friendliness of this community, and the love and loyalty for DU that I have heard from so many. The University is increasingly prominent on national and international levels thanks, in large part, to the passion and creativity of so many faculty and staff using new approaches to scholarship and a focus on student-centered learning.

We've also arrived at this point through the vision and stewardship of Chancellors Dan Ritchie and Bob Coombe and the work of many others. With such successes as the recently completed ASCEND campaign that will support scholarships and strengthen the student experience, we are now strongly positioned to move DU forward as a leader in higher education. Many of you have already said to me, "The time is now to leap forward; we are positioned to be a great University in a great city in the 21st century." I agree. This is the right time—our time—for DU to build upon its legacy and be an innovative leader as American higher education addresses some of the most difficult challenges and exciting opportunities it has faced in the last 150 years.

In the past year, DU has laid the foundation for our future through the Strategic Issues Panel on Higher Education and the planning steering committee, to identify the needs, opportunities and principles that must guide the crafting of our strategic direction. We will build upon this work to define new strategic directions. The first step will be to design a planning process that fits our community, that will allow input and transparency, and that will address the complexities of DU, an institution composed of many schools and many administrative units.

This fall I will begin a listening tour across the campus community, in Denver, and among our alumni. I hope to meet with students, staff, faculty, alumni, parents, business and community leaders, neighbors and other potential partners in education. I want to learn all you can tell me about the University of Denver as well as your vision for its future. Even as I learn from you, we will begin to shape together a process for setting our directions. Please watch for opportunities to participate in the listening tour whether in organized town halls, talking to me on campus or other venues.

In the meantime, I ask you to help me consider some questions about our University and what we need going forward, and invite you to share with me your answers. I will be using this website as one way to maintain an ongoing dialogue with you. I will update you regularly this fall about what I am hearing in terms of our concerns, ideas and aspirations. Together we will help shape DU's future; I look forward to learning from you and with you, and guiding this process of direction setting in the months ahead.

On a personal note, my spouse, Fred Thibodeau, joins me in saying "thank you" for the incredibly warm welcome you are giving to us. We look forward to meeting you at performances, athletic events, celebrating with you at Homecoming and other occasions, and simply seeing you on this beautiful campus.

Rebecca S. Chopp
Chancellor, University of Denver